Who am I?

Since you are reading this, you probably already know me, perhaps as a colleague, or volunteer, or someone who has attended one of my lectures or workshops.

In case you don’t know much about me, I’m Jim Folsom, one of those people who came to consciousness already fixated on plants, and then (naturally) on gardens. Born in 1950, in a drop-dead gorgeous small Alabama town (Eufaula), I grew up with astonishing freedom to roam and observe. It was also my lot to work in the family garden, a typical surround of azaleas and daylilies under a canopy of pecans and elms, with an auxiliary back yard that provided the bulk of summer fruit and vegetables for the family of seven. My grandmother, Iris, who lived with us, was of the certain belief that if you can’t feed yourself, you’ll starve. As a child gardener, I was an easy convert and always realized I wanted to know as much about plants as was possible.

That desire continues to motivate me, and extends to the pleasure of sharing what I discover. My own learning underlies the reason for this website, its TimeLine and Reader (alias, the blogs). So why worry you with my interest in plants?

  • Because you may share this curious plant affliction, which I can, perhaps, stoke.
  • Because I enjoy teaching and talking with people about plants, and this site provides an opportunity to reach others.

What will I be dropping into the site and The Reader?

  • Topics that allow Gardens visitors (particularly those touring The Huntington, where I work) to make connections between the plants they encounter in the landscape and the arts and sciences that create our culture.
  • Historical linkages in the TimeLine that explain how our understanding of plants relates to other developments over time, and constructs connections that make that knowledge relevant to daily life.
  • Extracts from my free ebook, A Botanical Reader, available through Apple Books, with me (aka James P. Folsom) as author.

These ramblings range from pure botany and horticulture to applied topics, such as agriculture, gardening, and food science. If you like plants and gardens, and would enjoy curious, even unbelievable stories about how the plant kingdom impacts almost every realm of human life, check this site from time to time. I won’t run out of material, because I’ve been compiling The Botanical Reader for twenty years, and have encountered plenty of ideas from which to draw.